NUJ agrees terms for Five News transfer

Dear: ‘NUJ has won concessions’

The NUJ and ITN have reached a provisional agreement on the transfer terms for journalists when Sky News takes over the Five News contract in January next year.

It is understood that over the fivemonth period before the contract transfers to Sky News, some staff will be offered positions on the Five News bulletin and others will be offered jobs elsewhere at Sky News or ITN.

Sky News and Five agreed not to interview external candidates until they had interviewed current Five News staff who wished to move to the new bulletin.

A total of 42 journalists were eligible to apply for Sky News jobs; 34 were interviewed and will find out whether they were successful after NUJ members vote on the terms of the agreement.

The remainder of the 60 journalists affected by the contract change will be made redundant. Subject to agreement by the NUJ members, a voluntary redundancy deal will offer staff three weeks’ pay for every year of service at ITN. In addition there will be a lump sum payment of £4,000 for those with less than four years’ service on Five News; £5,000 for between four and seven years’ service; and £6,000 for more than seven years’ service.

Those who agree to voluntary redundancy will be allowed to leave ITN on 17 December – two weeks before the Five News contract ends – but will be paid until the end of the year.

“ITN Five News staff have been held to ransom ever since Sky placed Five News job adverts in The Guardian,” said NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear.

“Despite the inadequacy of UK employment legislation, the NUJ has been fighting ever since to save members jobs and protect their terms and conditions. Our negotiators have won significant concessions and it is now up to ITN members to decide whether they accept them or not,” he added.

The union will present details of the agreement to ITN journalists at a chapel meeting this Friday (30 July).

Chris Shaw, senior controller of programmes at Five, said: “What we’ve strived to achieve here is the smooth transition from one service to another with a minimum of pain for all those who have been working on Five News.”

By Wale Azeez

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